FIU exposes grade schoolers to STEM fields in new after school program

Camila Saenz/ Contributing writer


The University created a new after school program this year to introduce middle schoolers to the STEM fields.


The EV3 Robotics program hopes to expand the minds of young students and to encourage anyone who is interested in pursuing a degree in a STEM field.


“The idea began that every student could be involved in STEM through robotics to learn the sciences,” said Adly Norelus, associate director of the Office of Pre-Collegiate, Grants and McNair programs.


Not only will the students be learning the basics of robotics, as well as more advanced components, but they will also be able to compete in both local and national competitions.


Miami Edison Park K-8 Center and North Miami Middle School are currently the two schools involved in the program.


Despite this, Norelus and George Simms, the assistant vice provost of Student Access and Success, see a bright future of expansion for this program and think that it will go beyond to reach more students other than just sixth, seventh and eighth graders.


“Right now we are in the process of writing a grant to expand the program to high schools,” said Norelus. “Which will cover ninth through twelfth grade.”

The program is also predicted to expand to other middle schools in the area, providing more opportunities to the students of Miami-Dade County.


According to Norelus, not many students show interest at such a young age for the sciences because there are not many opportunities provided that allow them to gain hands-on experience.


“These middle school students will feed into these high schools and continue to participate in the program, even during the summer,” said Simms. “The ultimate goal is for these youngsters to continue their education after high school at FIU.”


The EV3 Robotics program also provides opportunities for current students at the University.


“We have currently three students involved in the program — as tutors, mentors, and teaching assistants,” said Norelus.


As the program expands at the University, it could mean an eventual expansion in the STEM fields, resulting in a larger program with more opportunities for its students, according to Simms.


“FIU plays a strong role in the program,” said Norelus. “We meet with [students] throughout the program, we provide college prep workshops that help [them] learn time management, as well as career exploration.”


During the summer, the middle school students will be on campus to tour the University facilities and explore the college culture.


According to Norelus, the only requirement to be in this program is to be interested in learning more.


The students who complete the EV3 program have the opportunity to apply for  partial scholarships to the University, whenever their time to potentially attend the University comes.


“Once again, FIU proves that it is worlds ahead,” said Simms.


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